What Is Storage
Spaces Direct?

Microsoft Storage Spaced Direct (S2D) is a relatively new technology for distributed data storage that was introduced in Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and further included in Windows Server 2019 Datacenter. Storage Spaces Direct pools storage across servers to create software-defined storage (SDS) to ensure cluster high availability. Storage Spaces Direct architecture can facilitate both converged and hyper-converged scenarios, providing various additional features like caching, storage tiers, NVMe support, and others to ensure high performance and infrastructure resiliency.

Microsoft S2D Features

In addition to erasure coding and innovative caching technologies, Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct promises unparalleled efficiency and performance at a fraction of the cost of conventional physical shared storage options like NAS or SAN. Other features include Offline Deduplication, Autotiering, VM-centric snapshots on hypervisor level, two-server clustering using a USB flash drive as a witness, etc.

Microsoft S2D does indeed have the potential to pool diverse storage into powerful systems but it costing a fraction of a SAN price is questionable. Storage Spaces Direct comes as the highest-tier Windows Server license. Purchasing S2D means buying all the Windows Server features, most of which you won't use. It’s also very complex to master and operate. Thus, cost-efficiency is, in fact, the weakest point of S2D.

Storage Spaces Direct
vs. StarWind VSAN

Storage Spaces Direct

  • Form Heavy-duty software
  • Licensing Requires at least 2 nodes (mirror) to create a cluster but Microsoft recommends 4 nodes to properly configure S2D for production/ License per CPU
  • Hardware
    Compatibility Lists
    Strict HCLs, works only with Hyper-V
  • Feature Tiers and
    Restrictions
    Highest-tier license, which includes everything Windows Server offers
  • Monitoring and
    Management
    Windows Admin Center, requires a lot of education to master all the features and use them
  • Flexibility Scaling out is possible only within HCL

StarWind Virtual SAN

  • Lightweight Windows-native software
  • Requires 2 nodes for HA / License per node/ Installs into Hyper-V parent partition on existing cluster nodes — SaaS model, no witness entity necessary
  • Hardware-agnostic, can be installed in any infrastructure, works with the hypervisor of your choice
  • Single universal license that varies only by capacity.
    No socket-derived licensing, no feature paywalls
  • Unified simple console included
  • Scalability is available up, down or out regardless of the type of proprietary components

Storage Spaces Direct

StarWind Virtual SAN

Heavy-duty software
Lightweight Windows-native software
Requires at least 2 nodes (mirror) to create a cluster but Microsoft recommends 4 nodes to properly configure S2D for production/ License per CPU
Requires 2 nodes for HA / Installs into Hyper-V parent partition on existing cluster nodes — SaaS model, no witness entity necessary
Strict HCLs, works only with Hyper-V
Hardware-agnostic, can be installed in any infrastructure, works with the hypervisor of your choice
Highest-tier license, which includes everything Windows Server offers
Single universal license that varies only by capacity. No socket-derived licensing, no feature paywalls
Windows Admin Center, requires a lot of education to master all the features and use them
Unified simple console included
Scaling out is possible only within HCL
Scaling out is possible only within HCL

What Is
StarWind VSAN?

StarWind Virtual SAN is an SDS that achieves 99.9999% application uptime and overall high availability (HA) starting with two nodes already! The solution works with the hypervisor of your choice and can be integrated into any infrastructure configuration. All features are the same for every license and are available immediately upon purchase. StarWind VSAN removes the need for physical shared storage and ensures infrastructure resiliency by mirroring disks and cache between hypervisor servers. It can serve both as the rock-solid foundation for your systems or take your existing infrastructure to the next level, eliminating vendor lock-in and scalability restrictions.

Budget
Efficiency

By limiting the hardware footprint accompanying traditional physical shared storage, StarWind VSAN allows you to double your savings by lowering CapEx and OpEx. You can forget about additional licensing expenses as well. The difference in price between custom and commodity hardware is evident enough.

Outstanding
Simplicity

Despite offering impressive performance, StarWind VSAN is also easy in managing and administering. You can run it wherever you want, and it doesn't get more simple in configuring. If you have ever been working with a virtualized environment, you'll have no trouble running and deploying StarWind Virtual SAN.

Feature-Packed
Offer

StarWind VSAN isn't limited by just price, reliability, and flexibility. It also offers a set of features such as server-side cache, NFS support, or Automated Storage Tiering to provide your environment with fault tolerance, high availability, and maximum performance. You can scale however you want with no vendor lock-in.

Please fill out the form below to download the product. An installer link together with the license key will be sent to the e-mail address that you’ve specified. You may check the Free vs. Paid document if you are unsure about which StarWind Virtual SAN version you would like to try. Aside from this, there is a totally unrestricted NFS (Not For Sale) version of StarWind VSAN available for certain use cases. StarWind Virtual SAN for Hyper-V release notes are available here.